First published in the Nov. 4 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
City Manager Marcella Marlowe received a two-year extension to her contract at Friday’s meeting of the San Marino City Council, extending the term of her employment through Oct. 15, 2024. Marlowe’s previous deal was set to end on Oct. 15, 2022.
“I am honored to have received this vote of confidence from the City Council,” Marlowe said Monday. “This is a challenging time for our organization and I am committed to partnering with the City Council to continue our longstanding tradition of service to the community and excellence among our team.”
Marlowe was recently criticized by the San Marino Police Officers Association following the municipality’s proposal of a mandatory employee vaccination policy, but co-workers and fellow city leaders rallied to support the administrator. The City Council directed the municipal staff in September to pursue an employee vaccination mandate, which is currently under negotiation with the SMPOA.
In the meantime, the union in early October took out a full-page advertisement in the Tribune to chastise what it depicted as shortcomings in Marlowe’s performance and leadership style.
At that time, Mayor Ken Ude rushed to Marlowe’s defense, saying he was “disappointed in the SMPOA’s tactics in this labor negotiation.”
No police officers spoke at Friday’s meeting when the Marlowe’s contract reached the agenda.
The City Council voted 4-1 in favor of the deal with council member Gretchen Shepherd Romey as the lone voice of dissent.
Councilman Steve Talt addressed the issues which had been raised by the Police Officers Association.
“Part of our responsibility is to review and continue to look at these issues,” said Talt. “I have looked into these issues that were raised in the unfortunate advertisement and found that many of them didn’t hold water. We will continue to review these situations every year, but at this point there is certainly nothing concrete to give rise to a concern not to employ our city manager.”
“Covid threw the city a number of curve balls and the City Manager, along with her team, performed really well,” said Ude. “The city continued the work to improve our aging infrastructure. Community services created many innovative programs. Crime was down. Fire and paramedic response was excellent. We were financially responsible and have more money in the bank than a year ago, even after our increased investments in our infrastructure and our community. Our administrative procedures also improved, and our meetings were more efficient. Yes, we currently have challenges with some of our valuable employees, but I’m sure we will get through them in a positive manner.”